Tim Curry made a rare public appearance on Sunday when he attended the 19th annual Actors Fund Tony Awards Viewing Party in Los Angeles. While in attendance, Mr. Curry received the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by the Actors Fund in recognition of Tim’s extensive Broadway career.
Before the party, Mr. Curry, who has spent the last two years rehabilitating from a stroke, said that he was thrilled to be receiving the award because it places an official recognition on all that the American acting community has given to him throughout his career. Mr. Curry reflected on his theater experiences, which included Spamalot, a musical comedy adapted from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Mr. Curry recalls the pleasure he received from participating in Spamalot, particularly because he has always been a big fan of Monty Python and of Eric Idle, who “wrote me a terrific part.”
Tim Curry thinks that the fun he had on stage in his King Arthur role translated into an equally enjoyable experience for the audience.
“Hopefully it is infectious for the audience. If you are having fun, you hope they are, too.”
Recalling My Favorite Year, another theatrical production that stands out in Mr. Curry’s experiences, Tim recollects the fun he had in playing the part of a drunk.
“I loved the score. I thought the score was really brilliant so it was a pleasure to sing it. It’s always fun to play a drunk. The research makes it fun to play.”
While Curry was happy to reflect on other experiences as well, including the plays Travesties and Amadeus, the interview ultimately lead to Tim’s very first Broadway performance and the one which would forever endear him to fans worldwide. While Tim’s name is often synonymous with that of The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s lead character, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Mr. Curry seems to look on the role now, years later, with mixed emotions.
“[I look at that project now as] a sort of bemused tolerance. It’s neither a blessing nor a curse. I was lucky to get it.”
On the topic of his role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mr. Curry confirmed the rumor that his performance was based upon a woman he met while riding a bus.
“I started playing him as German and then I met a woman on a bus who said ‘do you have a house in town or a house in the country’ and I thought, ‘that’s the voice!'”
Mr. Curry also recalled that, although opening night felt like a success, the critics were less receptive.
“It was very exciting — when done successfully. I had to go on the Today Show the next day and they read the reviews — which were appalling. That brought me down. It was very cruel.”
Finally, Tim addressed his rehabilitation and the fact that he has limited his public appearances. Mr Curry said he was doing well, and although he hasn’t been out in public often since his stroke, he was really looking forward to the ceremony.
“I’ve done a few benefits for the Actors Fund and I think it’s a marvelous organization. I hope not to have to use it.”
Speaking of his illness, Mr. Curry credited his sense of humor and his ability to laugh for the success he’s had with his recovery.
“[A sense of humor is] Vital. Absolutely vital. It’s not tough to maintain. It is just part of my DNA.”
[Featured image: Tim Curry courtesy of Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images]